How to Revive a Dying Anthurium Plant

Why is my anthurium dying?

A dying anthurium is usually because of root rot due to overwatering and poor drainage. Anthurium are epiphytes that need to grow in well aerated, porous potting mediums. If the anthurium is planted in regular potting soil it is likely to develop root rot which causes the anthurium to droop and the leaves to turn yellow.

Anthurium leaves turn brown due to too much direct sunlight and low humidity.

To revive a dying anthurium it is important to replicate the conditions of it s natural habitat with a temperature range of 65°F and 72°F (18°C to 22°C), high humidity, bright indirect light and planted in a well draining, aerated potting mix.

Keep reading for how to save your dying anthurium…

Anthurium Leaves Drooping, Turning Yellow and Dying

  • Symptoms. Yellowing leaves with an overall drooping, dying appearance.
  • Causes. Overwatering, slow draining soils and poor drainage.

Anthuriums are native to tropical rainforests in Central America, where they grow as epiphytes which means they grow on trees in humid environments rather then in the soil on the forest floor.

Their roots absorb moisture and nutrients from the humid air around them rather then drawing water up from the soil.

Therefore the anthurium’s roots are not adapted to growing in regular potting soil which is too dense and retains too much water for the anthurium to tolerate, causing the leaves to droop and turn yellow.

If there is too much moisture around the roots, then the excess water excludes oxygen from the soil which prevents root respiration and therefore prevents the roots from uptaking the moisture and nutrients that the anthurium needs.

Too much moisture from overwatering and slow draining, dense soil also promotes the conditions for root rot which turns the leaves yellow, droop and causes the anthurium to die back.

Anthuriums need to be grown in a soilless potting medium such as pine bark based potting mediums for orchids (which are also epiphytes and require similar conditions) as this replicates the growing conditions of the anthurium’s native environment, providing enough moisture and humidity around the roots which also ensuring the areaeted porous structure that allows for excellent drainage.

It is worth noting that Excess moisture around the anthurium’s can be because of:

  • Overwatering (anthuriums need consistent moisture during Spring and Summer if they are grown in the right potting medium, and require the top inch of potting medium to dry before watering in the Winter).
  • Slow draining soil.
  • Pots without drainage holes in their base.
  • Saucers and decorative outer pots underneath the anthurium’s pot which causes water to pool around the base of the pot after watering.

How to Revive an Anthurium with Yellow, Drooping Leaves

  • The first step is to reduce the frequency of how often you water the anthurium and let the soil dry out. As a general rule, anthurium plants should be watered often enough to keep the potting soil slightly moist during active growth (in the Spring and Summer) and let the top inch of the potting medium dry between bouts of watering in the Winter. Moniter the soil’s moisture with a moisture meter or feel it with your finger regularly to detect moisture and establish the right watering schedule for your anthurium in your climate.
  • Repot the anthurium into a well draining, pine bark based potting medium made for orchids. I personally recommend pine bark based potting mediums as they create the aerated structure and good drainage that emulates the anthurium’s native environment to prevent root rot.
  • When you are repotting the anthurium inspect the roots for any signs of disease. Healthy Anthurium roots appear light colored and feel firm, whereas diseased roots appear dark brown and soft with a mushy texture and foul smell.
  • Snip back any diseased looking roots back to healthy growth. Use a sterilized pair of pruners or scissors and cut back rotting roots back to healthy growth or back to the base of the plant. This prevents the rot from spreading. Wipe the blades of the pruners with a cloth soaked in disinfectant between each snip to sterilize the blades and prevent spreading fungal pathogens from diseased roots to otherwise healthy growth.
  • Wash the pot with disinfectant before replanting the anthurium as the pot can harbor fungal disease pathogens and reinfect the plant if unwashed.
  • Locate the anthurium in bright, indirect light and increase the humidity by misting the leaves to mitigate transplant shock.

Whether or not the anthurium recovers depends on how long the roots were damp, compacted soil for and the extent of the root rot.

If the roots have no visible signs of rot (soft roots that break off easily, with a mushy texture) then just repot the anthurium in new orchid potting medium, mist the leaves and the plant should recover with consistent care.

For a good visual guide to dealing with root rot watch this helpful YouTube video:

Anthurium Drooping and Turning Yellow due to Temperature Stress

Anthurium can also turn yellow and droop if the temperature is too low. Anthurium plants are native to tropical forests in central America and experience consistent warm temperatures all year round.

The optimal temperature for anthurium plants is between 65°F and 72°F (18°C to 22°C) during the day time with a slight drop in temperature at night, as long as it stays above 60°F (15°C).

Whilst anthuriums can tolerate the occasional drop in temperature below 60°F, if the temperature is consistently lower then 60°F or perhaps there is a drastic drop in temperature (due to an open door, or window for example) then the plant reacts due drooping and turning yellow.

Keep the anthurium out of the path of air conditioning or any other draughts that can lower the ambient temperature.

How to Revive a Drooping Anthurium with Yellow Leaves due to Temperature Stress

To revive a drooping, yellowing anthurium, replicate the conditions of its native environment by moving the anthurium to a room that is consistently warm, with bright indirect and high humidity.

Water the potting medium to that it is moist during active growth and dries slightly between bouts of watering whilst its dormant in Winter.

This creates the optimal conditions for anthurium to recover and thrive. With consistent care the anthurium should recover from its drooping appearance and new leaves should grow in the Spring and Summer.

Cut back any yellow leaves that do not recover back to their base once you can see new growth starting to emerge.

Anthurium Drooping and Turning Brown

  • Symptoms. Drooping leaves and stems that may turn brown and yellow.
  • Causes. Too much direct sunlight, drought stress, temperature stress and low humidity.

Anthurium naturally grow under a forest canopy which protects their leaves from the harsh sunlight in their native range.

Therefore their leaves are very sensitive to direct sunlight which dries them out and scorches the leaves brown and crispy.

Therefore it is always best to grow anthurium in bright, indirect light as this meets the energy requirements for the plant for active growth and to promote flowering without scorching the leaves.

Too much shade can also result in poor growth and drooping leaves.

It should be noted that anthuriums are tropical plants that thrive in humid conditions. Anthuriums often need humidity as high as 40% whereas the humidity indoors is often as low as 10%.

This discrepancy in humidity saps moisture from the anthuriums leaves causing them to turn brown (initially at the margins) and droop downwards.

Brown drooping anthurium leaves can also indicate underwatering. Anthuriums need their potting medium to be consistently moist during active growth and can droop if the roots do not have enough access to water.

Temperature stress can also be a contributing factor. If the temperature is significantly above 72°F (22°C) then this can dry out the potting medium too quickly for the anthurium to tolerate and result in drooping stems and browning leaves.

High temperatures can also be as a result of indoor heating which may increase the temperature uncomfortably high and simultaneously dry the air which saps moisture from the leaves causing them to turn brown.

How to Revive Drooping Anthuriums with Brown Leaves

  • Always locate anthuriums in bright indirect rather then full sunlight to avoid the leaves turning brown. Avoid deep shade as this reduces flowering.
  • Water the anthurium as often as required to keep the potting medium moist (but not saturated) during active growth in the Spring and Summer. This ensures that the roots have access to the water they require to avoid drooping. Reduce watering in Winter so that the top inch of the potting medium dries slightly as the plant is dormant which reduces the demand for moisture.
  • Increase the humidity around the anthuriums leaves. It is important to emulate the humid conditions of the anthuriums native environment to prevent the leaves drooping and turning brown. I personally live in a colder climate and need indoor heating in Winter which decreases the humidity.
  • I personally find the best way to prevent my anthurium leaves from turning brown is to use a plant humidifier and group my other houseplants with a preference for humidity together to create a humid micro-climate. If you are in a less arid environment then misting the leaves occasionally may be enough to prevent the leaves from turning brown.
  • Keep your anthurium on the other side of the room from any sources of heat and out of the path of any air currents such as forced air or air conditioning. Try to maintain the optimal temperature range of around 65°F and 72°F (18°C to 22°C) during the day and avoid the temperature drooping cooler then 60°F (15°C) at night.

Anthurium leaves droop and turn brown when they are in conditions that are too far contrary to their natural environment. Once you adjust the conditions so that they are more favorable, the anthurium should show signs of recover in the following weeks.

Once the leaves have turned brown they do not turn green again. Therefore it is important to wait until you see new growth from the anthurium in the Spring and Summer before cutting any brown leaves back to the base.

The anthurium is much more resilient to the stress of pruning in the Spring during active growth.

Anthurium Dying After Repotting

There reason for an anthurium dying after repotting is usually because they are planted in the wrong kind of potting soil, they are overpotted or due to shock at the change in conditions.

It should be noted that the anthurium should only be repotted in the Spring. This is because the all houseplants are more resilient in early Spring just before active growth.

If you repot the anthurium in the Fall or Winter then the roots are often sat in the new potting medium whilst the plant is dormant, so the roots do not get a chance to establish properly. This increases the risk of root rot which turns the leaves yellow.

If you repot the anthurium in the Summer this is likely to shock the plant and interfere with flowering.

It is important to repot anthurium plants in pots that are only and inch or so wider in diameter then their previous pot.

If you repot the anthurium to a much larger pot then it is likely to dry out much more slowly which can promotes the conditions for root rot.

Repotting the anthurium into the wrong type of potting soil that retains too much moisture and lacks the aerated, porous structure that the anthurium prefers, can also be the cause of the dying anthurium after repotting.

Key Takeaways:

  • A dying anthurium is usually because of overwatering and slow draining soils. Anthurium need aerated, porous potting mediums that drain efficiently. Normal potting soil dries too slowly and lacks the preferred structure for the anthuriums roots, resulting in root rot and yellow leaves.
  • Anthurium leaves turn brown if the humidity is too low. Typically anthuriums need the humidity as high as 40%. Dry air indoors saps moisture from the leaves causing them to turn brown at the margins and droop.
  • Anthuriums can die after repotting if they are overpotted or repotting at the wrong time of year. Anthuriums should always be repotted in Spring. Repotting at other times of year often results in root rot.
  • To revive a dying anthurium, recreate the conditions of its native environment by increasing the humidity to 40%, maintain a temperature range of 65°F and 72°F (18°C to 22°C) and keep the potting medium moist during active growth in the Spring and Summer.

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